The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Soccer Players of all time. This list of famous Soccer Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Soccer Players.
With an HPI of 65.77, Roger Milla is the most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 50 different languages on wikipedia.
Albert Roger Miller (born 20 May 1952), known as Roger Milla, is a Cameroonian former professional footballer who played as a forward. He was one of the first African players to be major stars on the international stage. He played in three World Cups for the Cameroon national team. He achieved international stardom at 38 years old, an age at which most forwards have retired, by scoring four goals at the 1990 FIFA World Cup and thus becoming the oldest goalscorer in World Cup history. He helped Cameroon become the first African team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. Four years later, at the age of 42, Milla broke his own record as the oldest goalscorer in World Cup by scoring against Russia in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.Milla is also remembered for his trademark goal celebration of running to the corner flag and performing a dance. In the years that have followed, he has been recognised as a pioneer of the many unconventional and imaginative goal celebrations seen since then. In 2004 he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players. In 2007, the Confederation of African Football named Milla the best African player of the previous 50 years.
With an HPI of 60.46, Samuel Eto'o is the 2nd most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 74 different languages.
Samuel Eto'o Fils (French pronunciation: [samɥɛl eto fis]; born 10 March 1981) is a Cameroonian football administrator and former player who is the current president of the Cameroonian Football Federation from 11 December 2021. In his prime, Eto'o was regarded by pundits as one of the best strikers in the world, and he is regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, winning the African Player of the Year a record four times: in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010. A precocious talent, Eto'o moved to Real Madrid as a 16 year old. Due to competition in his position with more experienced players, he had several loan spells, before signing for Mallorca in 2000 where he scored 70 goals. His impressive form saw him join Barcelona in 2004 where he scored 130 goals in five seasons and also became the record holder for the most appearances by an African player in La Liga. Winning La Liga three times, he was a key member of the Barcelona attack, alongside Ronaldinho, that won the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final, with Eto'o scoring in the final, and was part of a front three of Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry that won the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final, with Eto'o again scoring in the final. He is the second player in history to score in two UEFA Champions League finals. At Barcelona, Eto'o came in third for the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2005 and was twice named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI, in 2005 and 2006. He signed with Inter Milan for the 2009–10 season, where he became the first player to win two European continental trebles following his back-to-back achievements with Barcelona and Inter. He is the fourth player in Champions League history, after Marcel Desailly, Paulo Sousa, and Gerard Piqué, to have won the trophy two years in a row with different teams. After brief spells with Anzhi Makhachkala, Chelsea, Everton, and Sampdoria, Eto'o found prolific form again in the Süper Lig with Antalyaspor having scored 44 goals in 76 league games. In 2015, he received the Golden Foot Award. As a member of the Cameroon national team, Eto'o was a part of the squad that won the Gold Medal at the 2000 Olympics. He also won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2000 and 2002. Eto'o has participated in four World Cups and six Africa Cup of Nations. He is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations, with 18 goals, and is Cameroon's all-time leading scorer and third most capped player, with 56 goals in 118 caps. Eto'o announced his retirement from international football in August 2014.
With an HPI of 56.62, Thomas N'Kono is the 3rd most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.
Thomas N'Kono (born 20 July 1956) is a Cameroonian former professional footballer. One of the greatest goalkeepers from the continent of Africa, he was mainly associated with Espanyol, whom he represented for almost a decade playing more than 300 official matches.N'Kono appeared for the Cameroon national team in three World Cups, and four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
With an HPI of 53.62, Patrick M'Boma is the 4th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 51 different languages.
Henri Patrick Mboma Dem (born 15 November 1970) is a Cameroonian former professional footballer who played as a striker. He is the former all-time top goal-scorer for the Cameroon national team.
With an HPI of 50.87, Marc-Vivien Foé is the 5th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 36 different languages.
Marc-Vivien Foé (1 May 1975 – 26 June 2003) was a Cameroonian professional footballer, who played as a defensive midfielder for both club and country. Foé had success in France's Division 1 and England's Premier League, before his sudden death, due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, during an international match, an event which shocked the football community worldwide. He was posthumously decorated with the Commander of the National Order of Valour and had his shirt number 23 retired by Manchester City.
With an HPI of 48.94, Samuel Umtiti is the 6th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 63 different languages.
Samuel Yves Um Titi (French pronunciation: [samɥɛl umtiti]; born 14 November 1993), known as Samuel Umtiti, is a French professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for La Liga club Barcelona. Umtiti began his professional career with Lyon in 2012, winning both the Coupe de France and Trophée des Champions in his first year. He totalled 170 games and three goals before a €25 million transfer to La Liga club Barcelona in 2016. He won three Copa del Rey and two La Liga titles at Barcelona. After winning 47 caps and scoring three goals at youth level, including winning the 2013 U-20 World Cup, Umtiti made his senior debut for France at Euro 2016, where they reached the final. Two years later, he was part of the squad that won the 2018 World Cup. He scored the only goal of the match in the semi-final against Belgium.
With an HPI of 48.42, Rigobert Song is the 7th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.
Rigobert Song Bahanag (born 1 July 1976) is a Cameroonian former professional football player who is the current manager of the Cameroon national team. Known for his defensive skills, Song usually played as a centre back but could also operate at right back. Internationally, he played at a record eight Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and served as captain in five (the ones he was not captain for were South Africa 1996, Burkina Faso 1998 and Angola 2010), a record, and holds the record of most consecutive games played in the tournament with 35 first team games. He has won two CAF Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2000 and 2002. In 2009, Song was dropped as Cameroon skipper by new coach Paul Le Guen, who eventually appointed Samuel Eto'o as the new captain but later caused concerns as Song had never been on the bench in more than 11 years for Cameroon. With 137 appearances, Song also holds the record of the most capped player in the history of the Cameroon national team and has played in four World Cups, in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010.Song started his professional career with Metz and helped the club to win the Coupe de la Ligue in 1996. After appearing at the 1998 World Cup, he joined Salernitana, newly promoted to the top-flight Italian Serie A. In January 1999, he left Italy to start successive stints with Liverpool, West Ham United and 1. FC Köln, but after failing to hold down a first-team place, he returned to France to play for Lens. He stayed there until 2004 and moved on to Turkey, where he spent four years with Galatasaray, winning two Süper Lig titles and the Turkish Cup. Song then signed a contract with Trabzonspor in 2008, where he won another Turkish Cup and stayed until 2010. Aside from Zinedine Zidane, Song is the only player to have been sent off in two different World Cups, once against Brazil in 1994 and against Chile in 1998. He also holds the record as youngest player ever to be sent off in a World Cup, aged 17. Nicknamed "Big Chief" by the Turkish fans, he is the uncle of fellow Cameroon defensive midfielder Alex Song.
With an HPI of 47.92, Joseph-Antoine Bell is the 8th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.
Joseph-Antoine Bell (born 8 October 1954), sometimes referred to as JoJo Bell, is a Cameroonian former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. In a 20-year career, he played in his native Cameroon as well as in the Ivory Coast and Egypt before moving to France, where he played for several top-level clubs including Marseille, Bordeaux and eventually ending his playing career with Saint-Étienne. He represented the national team in three World Cups (1982, 1990, 1994), the 1984 Summer Olympics and several African Cup of Nations.
With an HPI of 46.78, Alex Song is the 9th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 51 different languages.
Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong (born 9 September 1987), better known as Alex Song, is a Cameroonian professional footballer who plays for Djiboutian side Arta/Solar7 as a central or defensive midfielder. He can also play as a central defender. Originally a utility player on the fringes of the first team, Song quickly became an integral part of Arsenal's starting 11 during the 2008–09 pre-season, eventually leading to a €15 million transfer to Barcelona in 2012. Song played for the Cameroon national team in the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups. He was called up for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and was the only Cameroonian named in the Team of the Tournament. Song also possesses a French passport. He is the nephew of former footballer Rigobert Song.
With an HPI of 45.85, François Omam-Biyik is the 10th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.
François Omam-Biyik (born 21 May 1966) is a Cameroonian football manager and former player who works as assistant manager of Cameroon. Omam-Biyik also has French nationality. A forward, he was one of the most important players of the Cameroon national team in the nineties, playing at the three World Cups in 1990, 1994 and 1998. He played 73 international matches in total.
Pantheon has 105 people classified as soccer players born between 1952 and 2004. Of these 105, 100 (95.24%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living soccer players include Roger Milla, Samuel Eto'o, and Thomas N'Kono. The most famous deceased soccer players include Marc-Vivien Foé, Théophile Abega, and Stephen Tataw. As of April 2022, 13 new soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Théophile Abega, Cyrille Makanaky, and Emmanuel Kundé.
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Which Soccer Players were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 5 most globally memorable Soccer Players since 1700.